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Promoting Peace Through International Law$
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Cecilia Marcela Bailliet and Kjetil Mujezinovic Larsen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722731

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198722731.001.0001

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Human Rights Violations and Conflict Risk: A Theoretical and Empirical Assessment

Human Rights Violations and Conflict Risk: A Theoretical and Empirical Assessment

Chapter:
(p.133) 7 Human Rights Violations and Conflict Risk: A Theoretical and Empirical Assessment
Source:
Promoting Peace Through International Law
Author(s):

Kjersti Skarstad

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198722731.003.0007

A central premise and promise of human rights law is that the protection of human rights leads to greater peace for societies. Yet, in empirical conflict research, rights violations have largely not been seen as a relevant conflict risk factor. It is also unclear why and how violations possibly lead to a higher risk of violent civil conflicts. This chapter explains theoretically how human rights violations potentially increase the risk of such conflicts. It argues that human rights abuses serve as both conflict facilitators and conflict multipliers, and demonstrates empirically that violations of basic economic and social rights and physical integrity rights increase the risk of civil war, while the effects of other civil and political rights are minor. The main implication of these results is that human rights policies and the enforcement of human rights law are well worth pursuing in order to reduce conflict risk.

Keywords:   human rights, violent civil conflict, peace, conflict risk, human rights violations, conflict facilitator, conflict multiplier, economic and social rights, physical integrity rights

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